Many friends of Finland gathered to celebrate the Independence Day of the Republic of Finland on the evening of 30th of November in Pristina. The string quartet of young Kosovar musicians began the program by performing Andante Festivo movement by Jean Sibelius.
The Ambassador of Finland in Kosovo Mrs. Anne Huhtamäki welcomed the guests and emphasized the excellent relations between Finland and Kosovo.
She highlighted the work of President Martti Ahtisaari as a peace mediator and in drafting the Ahtisaari plan, which has proved to be a consistent way forward for Kosovo. Finland has long contributed to KFOR and EULEX. In addition, many Finns work for building Kosovo in several other international organizations. Huhtamäki highlighted the role of Finnish peacekeepers. This year Finland celebrates 60 years of participating in international crisis management operations.
With Kosovo civil society as well as the Kosovo authorities, Finland has had development cooperation ever since 1999. The aim has been to empower the most vulnerable groups, strengthen the status of women and girls and support self-employment and small-scale entrepreneurship. The EU framework and Twinning projects will be the future way for the cooperation of Finnish and Kosovar experts.
Sports, culture and music are also powerful forms of diplomacy, Huhtamäki reminded. Kosovo's first ever World Championship qualifier in football in September in Turku was sports diplomacy at its best.
Next year Finland will celebrate 100 years of independence. The Embassy of Finland will organize special Finland 100 events during 2017 in Pristina with the theme "Yhdessä – Tillsammans –Together".
The Kosovar Festivo Quartet beautifully performed the national anthems of Finland and Kosovo.
While listening to music the guests had a chance to see the exhibition 'Freedom of Information 250 Years – Anders Chydenius'. In 1766 the Finnish Chydenius made a brave initiative for Press freedom Act to abolish censorship from newspapers, an example of the common values of the Nordic countries.
The Embassy of Finland thanks all the guests for the warm atmosphere!